How Shall We Live During This Current Persecution of Orthodoxy?: Interview with Fr. Savas Agioreitis
In this third part of our four-part discussion (3/4) with Archimandrite Savas Agioreitis, which took place on May 8th, we discuss a wide-range of matters pertaining to how we must live in a spiritual manner in face of the current persecution of Faith in Christ and to Him in the Church.
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00:00:34 - Question 1: How will we live and survive this current situation?
00:01:14 - Answer 1: This crisis is pre-designed and we are under persecution
00:02:59 - A matter of faith, a dogmatic issue
00:04:07 - Question: Some say we are to bow before an icon, not kiss it.
00:05:30 - When we love God we also love our neighbor
00:07:00 - The Priest is "a type and in the place of Christ"
00:08:23 - St. Symeon the New Theologian: "Everything is expelled by Thy Light, o Christ"
00:09:20 - An Incident in Our Days from Romania which teaches us
00:10:37 - [WHO Disgraced; march for global government]
00:12:46 - Our Story in Romania: Communion Kills Virus-
00:14:49 - No need to change, for God Himself 'oikonomizes'
00:15:49 - "Life will never be the same"? "No going back"?
00:16:24 - Ecclesiastical Leadership Follows Rulers of This World
00:17:02 - What is said during the Consecration of the Temple
00:17:54 - Locked in, and out, of the Sheepfold!
00:19:37 - The Hierarch implores for the Temple to become "a refuge for patients"
00:20:06 - Dogma and Ethos are inseparable; lose one, lost the other
00:22:21 - The Temple: "an infirmary of passions, shelter of patients, expeller of demons."
00:23:53 - First and Foremost: Become Firm in the Faith
00:27:10 - Two abominations with regard to the Faith have led us here
00:28:50 - Three are the greatest sins of modern Greeks
00:30:45 - Spiritual Fathers without the Spirit
00:32:13 - Rational Sheep must judge with righteous judgement
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Archimandrite Fr. Savas Agioreitis began his monastic life in the Holy Kelli of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Kerasia on Mt. Athos. He is also a graduate of the School of Dentistry and the School of Theology, at the University of Thessaloníki, where he completed his Masters Degree with Professor Demetrios Tselengides. Today, Fr. Savas is the spiritual father of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity in the Diocese of Edessa, in northern Greece. Fr. Savas works tirelessly teaching and guiding the faithful not only in his diocese or in Greece, but, indeed, through the online homilies and lectures, the world over, wherever the rational sheep of Christ are thirsting for the Word of God and the Gospel.
In addition to nearly daily homilies during Divine Liturgy, which are uploaded to the internet, now numbering in the many hundreds if not thousands, Fr. Savas is also a prolific author, penning more than 11 books.
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A Four-Part Interview:
1. In the first segment we will address the Temple and whether or not the faithful need to fear becoming sick therein.
2. In this second segment, we address the all-important matter of having a spiritual father during these times of trouble and persecution.
3. In this third segment, we discuss a wide-range of matters pertaining to how we must live in a spiritual manner in face of this great challenge to our Faith.
4. And, in the fourth segment, we look at the challenge to the Orthodox Faith from contemporary Ceasaropapism and innovative ideas about the Holy Things in the Holy Temple.
We are sure that these interviews, with the ever-vigilant Fr.
Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!: https://oe-transcripts.now.sh
For all who would like to economically support the work of The Orthodox Ethos, donations can be made via Paypal at the following link: paypal.me/FrPeterHeers
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How We Should Live During the Contemporary Persecution of Orthodoxy
Part Three of a Four-part Interview with Archimandrite Savas Agioreitis
Father Peter Heers: Today in our broadcast of “The Orthodox Ethos:” The third part in our four-part interview with Father Savvas Agioreitis: How we should live during the contemporary persecution of Orthodoxy.
Fr. Peter: Gradually the (faithful) people are beginning to realise that “something is suspicious, something is not as it seems with the lockdown, and they are afraid that we may not “see a bright day” anytime soon, a corrective action to bring us back to normal. They are afraid that we will endure this situation for a long time. And so many faithful are wondering what they will do, especially those overseas (abroad). I receive letters and they write, “But I live one hour away from the church, and the Priest doesn’t even let me do confession, how will I live? What will I do?” They express their great agony; the faithful feel this agony: “What will I do? How will I live?” What should we tell them, Geronda?
Fr. Savvas Agioreitis: Yes. We have the example of the Christians of the first centuries (of the Church) who, with a myriad of dangers, went out at night to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in secret, inside the tombs of the Martyrs, inside the catacombs, underground, taking a myriad of precautions and risking their lives. The same thing is happening today: we must understand, the first thing which we must understand is, that we are under persecution. This has happened neither by chance, nor is it spontaneous; it is pre-designed, this whole topic of the “fool’s virus.”
So there is a lot of evidence for this, also on the internet, how for years, let’s say, [in] about 1980, a book discussed this thing. Or how, not long ago, a famous Kabbalist, Madonna, had done that show with those masks, right? -I call them elephant’s trunks- which not only don’t protect the people, but instead make them sick, and we should emphasize that. Regarding the mask, and now I’m speaking as a doctor (Fr. Savvas is a trained dentist), it doesn’t protect the person wearing it, but he wears it - i.e. the person wearing it, does so to protect those around him. If he is a patient, (he wears the mask) so as not to transmit the virus via viral droplets, or if he is a doctor and operates, he wears it in order to prevent the transmission of a disease to the man on the operating table.
Fr. Peter: Let alone in the Temple, we should not wear it. (in Greek, the word Temple –Ναός, nave- commonly means the church)
Fr. Savvas: Yes, more so inside the Temple. It is unacceptable, it is a lack of faith, it is - as we said before - blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Peter: Yes…
Fr. Savvas: Because there (in the Temple), if we do that, if we don’t kiss [venerate] the holy icons, which are also a source of sanctification, according to the Sacred Canons, particularly those of the Seventh Ecumenical Council; “whoever so does not venerate the Holy Icons is excommunicated”, it says, that is, they are cut from the Church, they are spiritually dead. This means that this man does not have salvation if he does not venerate the Holy Icons.
Fr. Peter: It is a matter of faith…
Fr. Savvas: It is a matter of faith…
Fr. Peter: [It is a] Dogmatic issue…
Fr. Savvas: [It is a] Dogmatic issue, a matter of the Sacred Canons, and in no way can anyone hide behind his Bishop saying, “Since the Bishop told me, I won’t do it”. The apostle Paul, what is he telling us? “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:8)1. Let alone a man, even a Bishop, or a whole Synod, or all Synods, or even a Pan-Orthodox (Synod)…
Fr. Peter: …if they forbid us…
Fr. Savvas: …if they forbid us the veneration of the Holy Icons, or the Holy Communion, or the veneration of the Priest’s hand – all these are contrary to the sacred Canons and we are not permitted to obey, under no circumstances.
Fr. Peter: Some say to bow in front of the icon, and not to kiss it.
Fr. Savvas: Yes, this reminds me of the Papists (Roman Catholics) who do this thing, but this exact practice is evidence of error and heresy. It is contrary to the Sacred Canons. This leads us into excommunication - we must realise it. We have the case of an Ascetic, who for many years was tempted by the Devil with thoughts of fornication, many-many years. And at some point, somehow, he broke out and said to him: “At last, we have grown old together! Leave me alone!” said the ascetic to the Devil, “you have been torturing me for so many years!” And he said to him the following [The Devil], “I will leave you alone if you stop venerating the Icon of The Theotokos, which you have in your cell.” Every night the elder venerated the Icon. And he went to his Spiritual Father, an enlightened man, and told him that which the Devil said to him, that “the war of fornication will go away if you stop venerating the icon of the Theotokos”. And his Spiritual father said to him that, “Under no circumstances will you do this act, this obedience. It is a thousand times [better] for this war to stay and even make you fall farther, than cease to venerate the icon of the Theotokos.” This forces us outside of the Church. Because…
Fr. Peter: Because the veneration refers to the worship [of God] which means eternal life…
Fr. Savvas: …because [it expresses] the love of God, which is the First Commandment. And that which you said previously, that in the name of love they tell us, “Don’t take Holy Communion, don’t venerate, or do not take Holy Communion in the traditional way, or don’t kiss the hand of the Priest”. The love toward our neighbour under no circumstance conflicts with the love toward God. And only from this are we able to understand that these instructions are incorrect, because Christ Himself has also told us that these two commandments are one: that is, when we love God, we also love our neighbour.
When we worship God, when we venerate God – which is the First Commandment, the love for God precedes the love for our neighbour-, under no circumstances, there is no way, that we can hurt our neighbour when we worship God. Any act of worship to God, which is the fulfilment of the First Commandment, as has been handed down to us by our Holy Fathers, in our Holy Church, in no way does it harm the Second Commandment, which is love of thy neighbour. There is no way… So, all these [things] that they are telling us are foreign and contrary to the Gospel. Because they are telling us to cancel the First Commandment in order to honour the Second. That’s what they are telling us.
Fr. Peter: We cancel (the Commandments), because we don’t go to Church to worship or receive Holy Communion.
Fr. Savvas: Exactly, that…
Fr. Peter: That is an annulment…
Fr. Savvas: Yes, we annul the First Commandment, the worship to God, which is everything that we do in our Church, the Holy Services, the veneration of the Holy Icons, the veneration of the Priest’s hand - which is not the veneration of a man, of one’s hand, but it is the worship of Christ. The Priest is “in type and place of Christ” and is the vessel of Divine Grace. And here allow me to tell you a saying by Saint Gabriel the fool-for-Christ of Georgia, who said, “The Holy Fathers teach…” –here we see again the phronema (the ethos or mindset) of the Saints, which is humble-mindedness, one refers to the other…
Fr. Peter: Yes.
Fr. Savvas: That which they have been telling us so far do not refer anywhere, never have these things occurred before, allowing us thus to find a historical precedent in the Ecclesiastical History which tells us these things.
So, the Saint said: “Our Holy Fathers teach us: ‘One Priest with the Grace of the Holy Spirit has so much more power than all the lay people together.’” Are you listening? All the lay people don’t have as much power as one single Priest. And you’re going to tell me now, that is, we will say to our faithful to not venerate the Priest? That is, they should not show piety to the hand that has touched Christ? And then again to say that there is a chance that this hand will infect us?
Here, St. Simeon The New Theologian previously told us that “My hand, and my foot and all of my members are filled with Light”. So I become God by Grace. He says again in a hymn, number 74.
“Your radiating Light enlivens me, my Christ, for even if an illness, O Master,” - here you go, it even says the exact word, and even a sickness, “or afflictions, but also sorrows, fetters, famine, prison, even the bitterest of griefs should hold me suffering, my Christ, like the darkness, everything is expelled by Your Light.” Here you are, The Light of God expels it all, disease and sorrows…
Fr. Peter: How beautiful…
Fr. Savvas: …and famine and prison, and now they tell us, if it were ever possible…
Fr. Peter: Which hymn is this?
Fr. Savvas: It is the seventy-fourth hymn of St. Symeon the new Theologian. Very clear things from the Holy Fathers. And they are telling us that Holy Communion can possibly transmit infection? And we also have another wonderful incident…
Fr. Peter: That happened recently, these days, right?
Fr. Savvas: These days in Romania.
Fr. Peter: The faith that we should have…
Fr. Savvas: The faith that we must have in Holy Communion, that there is no way we could ever be infected from the Holy Communion. So this happened in Suceava, there is a Saint there…
Fr. Peter: Of Romania.
Fr. Savvas: A great Saint, John the New Martyr, from Pontos - he was from Trapezounta- who was martyred and his relics are there (in Suceava), and this is the second largest pilgrimage in Romania. The first largest pilgrimage is St. Paraskevi Epivatini in Iasi and the second is the one in Suceava, Saint John, where there is also a Monastery of Saint John and inside the Monastery is the See of the Diocese. In the Diocese now, the Bishop – Archbishop – is the ninety-year-old (90 year-old) Bishop of Suceava, Poimen; this very old Archbishop was found to be positive in Coronavirus (Covid-19). [This interview took place on May 8th, just a few days after this incident.]
Of course this is also questionable because, like almost all Scientists admit it, the test we have is not specific for Coronavirus, or it can be anything else. In fact, yesterday I saw a video where a Prime Minister of an African country disgraced the scientists of the World Health Organisation. He sent them samples of a fruit, and of motor oil and other irrelevant [things], and they responded that those samples, which weren’t of a man – were positive for Coronavirus! That is an absolute disgrace for the World Health Organisation. And then we trust those people and take instructions from them worldwide. And this is clear that…
Fr. Peter: …and [it is] them who also want to introduce sexual pedagogy (education) to children of two, and three and four years old, [to teach them] the most perverse things; [it is clear] that some of them are men of darkness. And now we sit here and ask them, “Please guide us on how we will be in health.” There’s a problem here.
Fr. Savvas: A huge problem and it seems that they took quite a lot of money, as it has been leaked, from those globalizers, the people who want to form the world state, as they have envisioned it, the global Zionistic empire and government, because that is the aim of Zionism: no longer are they waiting for the Messiah to make the government that they dream – after all, that is why the early Zionists killed Christ, because they expected Him to be a worldly leader…
Fr. Peter: That’s it…
Fr. Savvas: …Who would establish a worldwide government both glorious and eternal, and not a Spiritual Kingdom, as our Christ came to do, which is the Church, right? Now they have changed [their minds] and what do they say? “We will not wait for The Messiah, the Messiah is late, we will establish the government” and that is where the whole campaign is aimed, the worldwide deception undergoing via the Mass Media, “and then we will bring in our man and establish him.” They themselves say these things which interpret all these facts that we have been experiencing.
But, et’s get back [to our story] in Romania and talk about this Bishop, who lives, as we said, in The Monastery of St. John Trapezountios in Suceava, and out came an announcement from the Monastery which says, this Pascha (this Easter), Bright Monday, the Paschal Monday that is, the Pastor (Father Poimen) participated in the Services and the Divine Liturgy and received Holy Communion from the same Holy Chalice with the Fathers of the Monastery and all of the clergy who that day concelebrated with him. Since he wasn’t feeling well since the beginning of Holy Week, finally on Pascha Monday he was transferred to the hospital of the city which bears the name of Saint John the New Martyr, [where] it was found that he was positive for Coronavirus. In the evening he went to another hospital, the Matei Balș, and now [follows] the announcement of the Monastery word-for-word: “
We wish that you take into account that our Hierarch, His Eminence Poimen, officiated in the Paschal Divine Liturgy like also the next day, together with the rest of the Fathers of the Monastery of Saint John the New (Martyr). All of them received Holy Communion from the same Holy Chalice, as it happens every time in the Divine Liturgy, except for one, the Deacon, who was performing the sexton’s duties and taking care of the order of the Services – and as indicated he was of little faith, and perhaps that was why he didn’t receive Communion. “Now, after much discussion and the negative comments heard on television, the laboratory results of the tests of the Fathers and the lay workers of the Holy Monastery came out. From all of those who underwent the test, all were negative”, all those who had Communion from the Holy Chalice with – the supposed patient, according to the laboratory data-, Bishop Poimen, “all were negative and only he who did not have Holy Communion, the Deacon, was positive. This was allowed by God for those lukewarm ones who approach the Holy Chalice and the humble Communion Spoon.”
You see, there is no need to employ “oikonomia” here; God himself, our Christ, proves from the facts even to those of little faith and He supports them also, if they want to see the facts, and we don’t need to plan for anything else. So, we can have complete trust in…God…
Fr. Peter: God Himself oikonomizes…
Fr. Savvas: Exactly, God takes care of those of little faith; of course He cannot make plans for the faithless because they do not allow Him. “You will not persuade me, even if you do persuade me” (Ancient Greek saying by Aristophanes: “Ού με πείσεις κάν με πείσεις”). And here it seems that we have to do not with those of little faith, but with the faithless who systematically, - it impressed me from the beginning [the way] that this supposed pandemic scandal broke out, and in fact there is a report on the internet which says, while they had only two cases – to see the size of fraud – in Wuhan, in China, the petty journalists started to talk about a “Pandemic” with two cases worldwide! This is ridiculous, to talk about a “Pandemic” immediately in the news!
Fr. Peter: I remember, early on, letters and articles written by many and they would say: “the world has changed, it’s over, we will not go back, [with] one disease, everything will change”. Wait, we haven’t even gotten into the subject matter well and you’re talking to us about the next day, how can this happen?
Fr. Savvas: And our politicians, who frequent these exclusive Clubs, the Bilderberg club and so on, they were talking about the subject that “the pandemic has come to stay” and “these measures are here to stay”. Why should they stay? If it is something, an epidemic, the measures should not stay, and yet we see that now that the so-called pandemic has almost disappeared, we still have very strict measures, especially so in the Churches. Very strict measures and we see… for example, they sent to me today from Germany, the measures of the Orthodox Church of Germany, the Greek Orthodox Church there, where the faithful are required to wear masks during all the Services and to keep a distance of 1.5 metres, and all the things which we said, all this constitutes a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Peter: Is this imposed by the government or the Church?
Fr. Savvas: From the Church, unfortunately.
Fr. Peter: From the leadership of the Church…
Fr. Savvas: From the leadership of the Church, according to an encyclical of the Metropolis of Germany. These things are unacceptable.
We talked about what goes on at the Consecration [of the Temple], and in fact we talked about that the Bishop, the Hierarch, kneels and says something very particular, allow me to continue. He entreats God and says:
“Make it (the Temple, that is) a wintering port (to be a port for them who suffer the hardships of winter, so, those who suffer), an infirmary for passions” (to be a medical institution for the bodily and spiritual passions).
The people, during the time of a pandemic, when there was an infectious disease, they would go to the churches to find solace and to find also treatment. In our Monastery in Edessa, they used to bring in their sick people, and particularly the psychopaths, and they would leave them there for days and for months and they would get better by living in the Church, inside the Monastery. So where will the patient go, if he won’t go to Christ, Who is the Doctor of our souls and bodies? Why do we read these prayers and yet not believe them?
Fr. Peter: And the tragic, the most tragic thing is that we, who should have been the leaders and bring the people to the church, we’ve become the obstacle.
Fr. Savvas: We drive the patients away from the doctor’s office; it is tragic. As one layman was telling me very accurately, “Today”, he tells me, “the shepherds, Father, locked themselves inside the sheepfold and lock the sheep out to be eaten by the wolves.” This is what happened now. The Priests and the Hierarchs locked ourselves in and we do the Liturgies by ourselves inside the Temples and we leave the lay people outside. And I have heartbreaking stories, like that of a poor, faithful woman putting her ear against the wall of the church, so perchance she can catch a word from that which the Priests and Hierarchs say inside the Temple. Is it even possible!
Fr. Peter: Lord, have Mercy…
Fr. Savvas: Indeed, and we have another testimonial from Mount Athos, where in a Monastery, at the time when this confusion had started, they stopped accepting the lay people, so then an important Elder went to the Abbot and said: “Geronda, do you like this situation, as we did today, at our Festival, where there wasn’t even one lay person? It did not have Grace, do you understand? We don’t have Grace”. Because the Church is all of us, together. You are not allowed to cut off any person from the Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion. It is prohibited. “..and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)2. This is what Christ says very clearly.
Fr. Peter: For whom did Christ die?
Fr. Savvas: Exactly. Only for the Hierarchs and the Priests? So are we setting up an elite group?
Fr. Peter: A caste system.
Fr. Savvas: A caste. And look how beautifully it is written here [in the prayers]. The Hierarch implores: for the Temple to become, as we said, an infirmary for the passions, and afterward “a refuge of the patients.” It is a refuge of the patients, the Temple. It should not be closed off. And even if a man is sick or of old age, why would you close the door of the Temple on him? Where will he find consolation? They say, he will come in and become infected… How could he become infected? But inside is full of Grace… Christ is “in our midst.” Would Christ ever allow us to infect one another?
Fr. Peter: This raises a question, Geronda, maybe it is us who have lost the taste of Grace?
Fr. Savvas: Exactly, that is what it is.
Fr. Peter: That is why we don’t understand what we have lost?
Fr. Savvas: …We don’t have the experience [βιώμα]; yes, we don’t have experience, we don’t have (spiritual) life.
Fr. Peter: How can we understand it otherwise? We have already lost the lost the spiritual sense.
Fr. Savvas: Unfortunately, let’s say this as well, both clergy and lay people have fallen greatly on the subject of ethos, that is, of life, and that is why now we deviate from the Faith. That is why all the things we are saying now are not ethical, but dogmatic offenses; they are errors as regarding the Faith. And as our Professor, Dr. Tselengides, used to teach us, when you are in error with regard to the ethos, soon you will err in terms of the dogma. All the Fathers tell us this.
Fr. Peter: Indeed.
Fr. Savvas: If we lose the Ethos – indeed we have lost the correct ethos, in the majority, nearly everyone – it is a matter of time to also lose our Faith.
Fr. Peter: May I ask: the root of this evil, to what is it due? How did we arrive at such a state?
Fr. Savvas: The root of evil, of course, is the sin, it is the apostasy, it is the submission to the chief of evil, the Devil, right? And, the first step (to the sin) is indolence, as the Fathers tell us. Indolence, or sloth, this is the beginning of all evil. The Devil throws us into indolence, into negligence, and afterward into sin. And from sin he then throws us into despair. And if he is able to, into suicide, - because he is a murderer-, that is the course of evil.
Therefore, in no case [for the faithful] can the Temple be a place to transmit a disease; this has to be made clear in the conscience of the faithful. This is the first [task] in order to have the proper stance against all this temptation and all this challenge. And we have to resist in whichever way we can, and do the Liturgy in every possible way.
We have now said that we should not obey to an unlawful law. When the Holy Apostles were dragged in front of the High Priests who had prohibited them from speaking about the Resurrection, they said “we can’t do that”. But those were the High Priests, you may say. Let it be, whatever it was. “We ought to obey God, rather than men” (Acts 5:29)3. We cannot obey to a human commandment which opposes our obedience to God.
The Temple then, it says here, is an “infirmary of passions, shelter of patients, expeller of demons”* The demonized and those who have demonic energies when the go into the temple, are absolved from the demonic energies. Provided of course there be repentance and all these prerequisites.
Furthermore, the Hierarch implores and says: “Let Thine eyes be open upon it day and night.” That is, my God, have your eyes fixed on this temple. Do we understand? This means that the Temple, every Temple which has been consecrated in the Orthodox way, of course, is guarded by God. The eyes of God are constantly on The Temple. Would it ever be possible that God allows us, [His faithful,] to become sick inside His House?
And yet more, “Let Thine ears be heedful of the prayer of those who shall enter therein in Thy fear”. And Thine ears, it says, to listen to the prayers and the requests that are sent… offered up by the faithful.
And in another case it says: “O Master, Lord, our God, Who hast appointed in heaven orders and armies of angels and archangels for the ministry of Thy Glory: Grant that there may be with our entrance, the entrance of Thy holy angels, ministering with us and glorifying with us Thy goodness.” Inside the Temple we have angels who minister with the Priests and praise God with all the lay people. Would it ever be possible that infection is extant [to the faithful] in such a place? No, under no circumstances.
Fr. Peter: Therefore…
Fr. Savvas: The first is this: to become firm in the Faith. Because all this so-called theology that they keep telling us, is not theology but “blur-ology” (plays with the words Theos=God, and θολός=blurry) because they blur the purity (essence) of the Faith, which has come down to us from the Holy Fathers. Under no circumstances can any infection be transmitted either from the Holy Communion or from other Holy gifts we receive, that is, the Antidoron (blessed bread), Holy Water, The Blessing of the Loaves (Artoklasia), the Kolyva (Memorial wheat-based offering), the Holy Relics…the Holy Icons. Under no circumstances. Everything inside the Temple is holy. Since everything is made radiant by the Uncreated Light. We must be clear on this, first and foremost.
And the second point is this: we need to gather around right-minded Priests. And unfortunately, it is no lie that we are also experiencing a large falling away of the clergy. Saint Kosmas of Aetolia himself prophesised this, that there would come a time where the Clergy would become worse than the laity. And the clergyman will enter, he says, into the home (of a person) and after he leaves the people will burn incense to drive away the stench, forgive me, from the place.
Fr. Peter: Lord have mercy.
Fr. Savvas: We will reach that point, unfortunately. I have many personal testimonials and experiences during Confession which reveal this falling-away. There was a contemporary enlightened Gerondas (Elder), (he fell asleep a short time ago), he would say with those exact words, “It is very hard to find even two-hundred (200) correct Priests in Greece today”. It is a tragedy, a tragedy. And another testimony, this one by Father Athanasios Mytilinaios, the renowned Preacher, teacher, about forty (40) years ago, - I heard it with my own ears during one of his talks -, he was saying, of the eight thousand (8,000) clergy which we then had in Greece, the one thousand (1,000), I’m telling you – he says – and it is confirmed, that they don’t believe in anything.
Fr. Peter: The one thousand of the eight thousand.
Fr. Savvas: That was forty years ago…
Fr. Peter: Then…
Fr. Savvas: And now we have reached the two-hundred who do believe and are God-fearing. Unfortunate, very unfortunate. And we have yet another testimonial, of a contemporary ascetic who fell asleep about seven or eight years ago, if I am not mistaken, Christina was her name, I think she was in Xanthi,* who revealed to, let’s say, a spiritual child of hers, a vision. She said, “of course, you won’t tell anyone, but only after my death”. And what was that vision? She saw Christ. He appeared to her, not in her sleep, and said to her that of the Hierarchs who were then in Greece, “only the eight (8) of them are mine”. We are talking about eight to ten (8 to 10) years ago. Of the eighty (80), however many Hierarchs we had, eight (8) of them belonged to our Christ. I don’t know today how many would– let’s not dare say a number, be Christ’s.
[*: it must be Gerondissa Christina the Recluse who fell asleep in the Lord on June 23rd, 2012 at the Holy Monastery of Panagia Pangaiotissa in Eleftheroupolis, Kavala.]
So, because the greatest sin is not the ethical falls (Orthodox way of life) into which, unfortunately, we have sunk, but it is sin with respect to the Faith. And we, as the Greek Church, have done a disgrace, two abominations towards the Faith.
The first is what happened in 2016 in Crete, in Kolymbari, where we totally betrayed the Faith, because we said that the heretics of all sorts – the Protestants, the Papists, etc. – are Churches. We gave away the name (Church), we recognised, that is, the heresies as Churches, and this is a great abomination and blasphemy against the Faith of Christ.
And the second abomination is when we recognised the Schism with the pseudo-bishops and the pseudo-churches of Ukraine. More so since – and there is testimony of this - two-thirds of those “Bishops” were ordained from defrocked clergy, therefore they are unordained, and one-third are completely unordained – they are the so-called “self-ordained”. There is even a case with someone who put a holy Relic on his head to ordain himself – a Priest, or Bishop…! Therefore, these are blasphemous things, and unfortunately some of our Hierarchs have those people stand next to them and together they do Liturgy.
And of course, the Holy Spirit “is not mocked”4. God is not mocked, you cannot fool God. Naturally, in this case there cannot be a (true) Liturgy, and also those who do it, accept judgement and condemnation from the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Peter: Therefore, among the reasons of the crisis that we are living, we have to recognize first of all, our falling away from the Faith.
Fr. Savvas: …the betrayal of Faith. And then we have the betrayal of the Ethos (the Orthodox way of life). And I should also say, I have said it in other talks, about a contemporary Saint, and his holiness has been witnessed to, Father Anastasios Koudoumianos (of Koudoumas), [a saint] of great spiritual heights…
Fr. Peter: In Crete…
Fr. Savvas: Yes, in Crete, he was in the Monastery of Koudoumas, [he had] experiences with the Uncreated Light, with appearances of the Theotokos, with Miracles of the Theotokos unto him; he told us of a particular experience he had with the All Holy Theotokos Who appeared to him very distressed. He asked Her: “Why, my Panagia, are you so distressed?” She said “I am distressed with the Greeks and their sinful acts”. And he asked her for which sins mainly, and She said: “Three are the greatest sins which the modern Greeks do: the first is blasphemy” – the greatest sin, the blasphemy against our Christ, our Panagia etc. “Secondly, the abortions” - which some say could be up to one million (1,000,000), though we don’t know the exact number. “And thirdly, the abnormal sexual relations within the marriage” - all these perversions which are promoted on the internet deliberately, from the Kabbalists, the Zionists and the rest, in order to corrupt mainly the Christians -, they have been practiced by the married couples today as something normal! And they have been spreading immensely. And that is a great sin and of course blasphemy against the image of God.
Fr. Peter: Geronda, let’s say these again. The first sin: blasphemy against God, the Saints and the Theotokos. The second?
Fr. Savvas: The second: the abortions.
Fr. Peter: The abortions.
Fr. Savvas: Horrible crime.
Fr. Peter: Yes, and the third is the abnormal…
Fr. Savvas: The sins against human nature, all those perversions for which also the contemporary Elder Ephraim of Arizona, would say, would advise, that we call them by their name, mainly because some don’t understand (these perversions) and consider them as normal, such as the so-called, forgive me, oral sex; the homosexual relations which are perversions against human nature. None of this is permitted.
Unfortunately, in addition to all that, there are Spiritual Fathers lacking the Holy Spirit, as Saint Symeon the New Theologian would say, who say (to the couples), “I don’t get involved in this (your sexual relations), do whatever you like”, and these (sins) have spread extremely widely …
Fr. Petros: Excuse me, what did he say? What are you saying now?
Fr. Savvas: Saint Simeon the New Theologian, one thousand years ago, would say, referring to his time and age, that there are Spiritual Fathers lacking the Holy Spirit! And such (people) unfortunately exist even today, who say to the couples, “do as you please, since you are married, everything is permitted.”
Fr. Peter: He abandons them…
Fr. Savvas: All the perversions… not only they abandon them, but some even recommend it…
Fr. Peter: They recommend it…
Fr. Savvas: Yes, or they promote it and enforce it sometimes, with the excuse to not break the family. If it were ever possible, to keep families this way, with the help of the Devil.
Fr. Peter: These sins mean that they will not taste of the Grace of God, they won’t have it [the Grace of God]?
Fr. Savvas: Yes, of course…
Fr. Peter: …it is clear.
Fr. Savvas: Yes, [if the couple does] these things for many years and they don’t repent, they can never receive Holy Communion, firstly this. If you don’t receive Holy Communion, you are cut-off from Life, therefore from Salvation.
Fr. Peter: If their Spiritual Father says to them “it is blessed”, again they have the sin?
Fr. Savvas: Of course they have it, because we have to choose the right Spiritual Father. That is, if tomorrow their Spiritual Father says to them, “go and kill yourselves”, it that a good thing? Will they go?
They might even go, but that does not deliver them from the guilt. Or if he tells them that, as we were told…
Fr. Peter: We have heard, in this crisis, if we obey the Hierarchs and priests, for they will have the judgement. Therefore, you are telling me now that this is not correct; that you must have… one must know the Faith.
Fr. Savvas: Exactly. And because we are not irrational sheep, we are rational sheep. Therefore, we have to judge [the actions of] the Spiritual Fathers. Not to judge them, per se, but judge them in order to discern – as the blessed Father Athanasius Mytilinaios would say -, the correct one from the incorrect one, the fraud. How would you discern the wolf (the fake shepherd) from the true Shepherd? You would have to have some sort of criteria. You would have to judge, and Christ Himself told us, “judge with righteous judgement”5 (John 7:24). Christ did also say “Judge not, that you be not judged”6 (Matthew 7:1), which some Hierarchs like to repeat often, and they mean not to interfere at all, [because] the Hierarchs are beyond reproach, and even the Priests, and they can do whatever they want and say whatever they want. Who said that? So all of them are subjected to the Gospel and to the Holy Canons. And that which they say and advise to people must be in line with that which the Holy Canons say.
We have a testimonial from Saint Nikodemos Agioreitis, as written in his “Exomologetarion: A Guide to Confession,” of one Spiritual Father who blessed his spiritual child to receive Holy Communion without restrictions, although he should not because of some deadly sins he had committed. And of course, his spiritual child was condemned into Hell (when he died). Saint Nikodemos writes this. And he appeared to his Spiritual Father who was still alive, and said to him, “Because of you, I am in Hell. And since I went to Hell because of you, I will also take you with me.” And in that same moment, he took his Spiritual Father to Hell.
So, these are the things from our Ecclesiastical History and we must not forget them.
Fr. Peter: We will have to end the discussion here temporarily, we will return next time. We thank you.
1 Gal 1,8: But even if we or an angelb from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed!
b Or a messenger
2 “All that The Father gives to Me, will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me, I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37, NKJV)
3 “But Peter and the other Apostles answered and said ‘we ought to obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29, NKJV)
4 Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”
5 John 7:24: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with the righteous judgement”
6 Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that you be not judged